International

01 November 11:35 am

Earlier this week, US Soccer announced the new head coach for the USWNT in Tom Sermanni. Taking over from the Olympic winning and team favorite Pia Sundhage, Sermanni has a tall order to keep the USWNT at the peak of women's global soccer. He spoke to USsoccer.com about taking over the team.

And while Sermanni is the coach, for a short while, KICKTV's Jimmy Conrad claimed to be in charge of the team:

While Alex Morgan is no stranger to joking around, it appears at the beginning of the video that she may have bought into the ruse for just a moment.

The actual USWNT will be coming to Portland on Nov. 28 to host the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at JELD-WEN Field. US Soccer announced their ticket pricing information earlier this week and the presale starts today. Neither Conrad nor Sermanni will be at the helm when the team is here, however, as US Soccer women's development director Jill Ellis will fill in in the interim.

31 October 3:23 pm

Rubio Rubin (Photo via USsoccer.com)

With eight goals since June 25 for the US U-17 squad--including scoring in four straight matches--not to mention being mentioned as TopDrawerSoccer.com's #1 U.S. player in the Class of 2014, it's save to say that Timbers U-16 Academy player Rubio Rubin has been on a bit of a tear.

After training at the US Under-17 Residency Program since the 2011 Fall Semester, Rubin has traveled with the team to Spain and most recently to the Four-Nations Cup in Argentina where he tallied three goals in four matches.

USsoccer.com sat down with the Beaverton native to talk about playing so far from home and how his development has been coming along.

ussoccer.com: You’re a long way from home in Oregon being across the country in Florida at the Under-17 Residency Program. Do you ever get homesick?

RR: “I actually don’t. I feel like it’s part of life and you’ve got to make some sacrifices sometimes. I love soccer so much that this is what is best for me and my future. The decision to come here has made me a better player and developed me so much more than if I had stayed at home because I’m playing with the top-32 players in the country. I’m so blessed to be here right now and I’m thankful and cherishing this opportunity because there are thousands of kids that would want to be in this position. I know that my mom, dad, sister and brother are always going to be there supporting me. I do miss some friends and going to school with them, but eventually we were going to have to move away if you decide to go to college or go a different route. I’m not really that homesick and I’m just happy to be here. You’ve got to do what you got to do with things you love. This is such a great opportunity.”

It's a great interview about a promising Timbers Academy product. Read the whole piece over at USsoccer.com.

18 October 10:20 am

Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

 

Known for his breakneck pace as he flies down the wings like a rocket, Sal Zizzo has emerged this season as a true attacking threat. With a goal and four assists--both career MLS highs--Zizzo's path here was anything but direct.

Soccer By Ives' Thomas Floyd gives the MLS Spotlight treament for Zizzo's journey from UCLA to the US U-20 World Cup to Hannover 96 in Germany to Chivas USA and now Portland.

“I would still do everything the same,” Zizzo said. “You maybe only have that chance once in your career. I wouldn’t change it. The experience that I got, the relationships, the people, and just learning the German side of soccer and just their mentality, day in, day out at training, is invaluable.”

It's a good read that goes into more detail about his German experience and his rise in Portland.

17 October 8:51 am

With the #SoccerInOregon photo project continuing and voting on Pinterest, the core of that whole project was showing the many people and places where soccer takes place across the state. Away from the big stadiums and big matches, soccer can be played on a bumpy pitch in any corner.

For Britain, football is as much about daily life and playing for the love of the game as anything. Much like the #SoccerInOregon project shows the grassroots elements of the love of the game, so too does this documentary short about Madron FC--widely considered the worst football club in England.

Situated near the southwestern tip of England, hope springs eternal for these dedicated lads:

The worst football team in Britain from Armoury on Vimeo.

10 October 1:20 pm

Ian Hogg (Getty Images)

After a summer that saw Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and defender Ian Hogg both spend a good deal of time with the New Zealand national team in friendlies, the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup, and London 2012 Olympics, it should come as no surprise that the duo are already eyeing qualification for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. 

FIFA.com took a look at the pair with an eye towards the numerous new players coming up through the New Zealand ranks.

“My time will come,” Gleeson, New Zealand’s third-choice goalkeeper, told FIFA.com. “I’m still young and I have plenty of time to grow. The junior sides are a good platform, but the step up in quality from there to the All Whites is still very big.”

Hogg also chimed in:

“The competition is improving in Oceania, where teams are unpredictable and players don’t really stick to their positions,” he continued. “So we know that our concentration and intensity has to be absolutely spot-on. New players have come in, and it will take a bit of time for things to gel. But we’ll see a much better New Zealand team in the near future.”

It's a nice piece about the numerous changes happening in the New Zealand side and how the infusion of youth--and the patience required with said youth--could play a big part in the All Whites World Cup campaign.

27 September 9:00 am

Jimmy Conrad doing his thing

You may have noticed the flood of videos on YouTube from a channel called KICKTV. They have quick summaries of footy related news on The Mixercompilations of all the goals in a week, a show all about soccer equipment called The Gear Show, there's looks into interesting online soccer video clips calle The Whip, and much more.

Perhaps one of the more visible people of this new soccer online channel is host Jimmy Conrad. Conrad, a former MLS All-Star, World Cup veteran for the U.S. national team and one-day member of Real Madrid, takes questions from fans, talks about the sport, and is their go-to guy to go on the road and dig into the interesting fun elements around the culture of soccer. The first big trip they sent him on was Euro 2012 whereupon he watched games in public squares with throngs of Polish fans, played pick up games in farm fields, and gave a unique perspective into the massive tournament.

Most recently, Conrad was in Portland interviewing Merritt Paulson, learning how to chainsaw, attending the Kicking + Screening Film Festival, and becoming a member of the Timbers Army at the huge Portland-Seattle Cascadia Cup rivalry match. 

In the inaugural edition of The Backcut Podcast, I sat down with man-about-town Conrad to learn about what exactly the new YouTube soccer channel KICKTV is, why it matters to soccer fans, and how Jimmy got involved with it.

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.

27 August 10:16 am

Ian Hogg with Auckland City FC - Photo: OFC via Phototek

The Oceania Football Confederation--home federation for New Zealand Football--wrote a nice piece about new Timbers signing Ian Hogg recently that makes for a good read. A starter in all three matches for the Oly Whites at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Hogg played alongside Jake Gleeson who was also a member of the team.

"I'm just looking to take any opportunities I get given," said Hogg. And with Timbers GM/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson and assistant coach Cameron Knowles also being veterans of the All Whites New Zealand national team, Portland has a growing Kiwi contingent.

Read the article here.

The article refers to Hogg's first goal in his senior national team debut during a friendly against El Salvador earlier this spring in Houston. It's a pretty quick run down the left flank that leads to a confident strike. See it here (Fast foward to the 29:41 mark, commentary in Spanish).

Then watch Hogg's first training with the team from last week.

22 August 4:21 pm

Last week, famed English Premiere League club Manchester City announced a special program that would release loads upon loads of statistical information from the team’s 2011-2012 EPL season. They did this in a unique way to crowdsource ideas and analysis of players' performances. Gavin Fleig, Man City's head of performance analysis, told The Guardian, "The whole reason for putting this data out there is to open the doors. The data has value, previously it has been kept in-house and behind guarded doors, but there is a recognition now that clubs need to help this space develop."

Both Michael Lewis' Moneyball and Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski’s Soccernomics tell the story of the importance of statistical analysis in sports--Lewis' with baseball and Kuper and Szymanski's then building off of that to get into soccer. With Man City, their document is incredibly thorough and open to all after registering at their website. Broken out by player, there’s every match and every stat you could think of: Right Footed Shots off Target, Goals from Corners, Total Unsuccessful Passes Excluding Crosses, Corners and much much more. It’s a deep document.

But that kind of statistical analysis and, more importantly, access to it, is something that MLS has been similarly doing on a league-wide scale since last season as they rolled out their toolbox of features with Opta. Every Matchcenter page on MLSsoccer.com has up to the minute stats in game and the Chalkboard feature is filled to the brim with heat maps, pass stats, positioning information and more.

And with adidas’ new Smart Soccer platform having debuted at the 2012 MLS All-Star Game with an eye towards even more use in 2013, the importance of statistics and their meaning on the game becomes even deeper. See their latest ad running with quite a few cameos from Timbers players.

How do you see the focus on statistics changing the game? Got a thought? Let us know in the comments below or send us a note at thebackcut(at)portlandtimbers.com.

 

16 August 2:19 pm

Photo: AP

If you were watching the Timbers 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night, you may have noticed Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy not with the team. This was due to both men being away with their respective national teams as Purdy was with El Salvador and Palmer with Jamaica. With both national teams matching up against one another Wednesday evening at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C., there was a unique Timbers intrasquad rivalry at play with Palmer’s Jamaica beating Purdy’s El Salvador 2-0.

Palmer and Purdy both started and played the full 90 minutes battling against one another. Jamaica’s midfielder Luton Shelton would give The Reggae Boyz the win as he put two goals into the back of the net. Now not only does Palmer have a little bit of bragging rights here in Portland, but he also gets a nice home cooked meal of his choice made by Purdy due to a bet placed earlier on Twitter.

This past Sunday, Purdy and La Selecta took to the pitch in the first of their two matches this week as they played Guatemala to a 1-0 victory at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Purdy started and played the full 90 minutes while teammate Nelson Bonilla scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute to give the Central Americans a boost ahead of the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Jamaica will play Kenya next in a friendlyl on Aug. 25 followed by a World Cup qualifier against the U.S. on Sept. 11 in Columbus. El Salvador will play Guyana in a World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 7.

RECAP: Jamaica Gleaner: Boyz ‘Two’ Good

RECAP in Spanish: La Prensa Grafica – El Salvador lost 0-2 against Jamaica